Friday, November 18, 2011
Pain, Suffering & Happiness
There is a somewhat cliched saying that goes "You should live every day of your life like it it your last day on earth."
The 'New Age' genre has taken this to mean something like "live life with gusto". To analyse this a little further, they mean that to be inhibited by possible negative consequences is to limit achievement, and thus limit happiness. This implies happiness it a result of achievement. This is False.
Happiness is the default state for human beings.
In the absence of all conceptual thinking, happiness remains. Even with the existence of pain there is happiness.
Some elaboration here.
Suffering is entirely caused by thinking.
Suffering can exist even without physical pain.
You might say suffering is emotional pain.
Physical pain + concept = suffering is also true.
The body has it's own way of handling pain.
Pain is a messenger, with the intent to protect the body. Obviously there is value to heed it.
Our culture has seemingly forgotten that and treats all pain as an enemy to be subdued.
Consider a headache. i am feeling sorry for myself (suffering) when something interesting comes along and for a while there is no thought or feeling of the headache. Later when attention falls away from the diversion awareness of the pain returns, and so the actual pain returns.
Had it gone while i was diverted, or was i just unaware of it. Can awareness of the pain, and the actual pain, be separated?
What about the occasions when discovering an injury that has left blood, but having no recollection of doing it. Logically, there would have been pain, but there is no memory of it. There is just a wound that the mind says "Oh, I must have bumped it against something..."
But enough of pain, what about Happiness?
Not the high of yippee-ness, or blissed out ecstasy. That is beyond happiness and obviously can't be sustained.
A sense of "all is well", of a harmony with circumstances that exists in the background of current happenings. When focused on, elicits a feeling of quiet pleasure.
This is the happiness that exists when the absence of concept is realised. (the convention of language makes it seem that happiness (a noun) exists in it's own right as a separate thing to be owned, but that isn't how it is meant here. It is just a clumsy description for awareness of a sense of something.)
Nothing needs to be done, in fact nothing can be done to achieve it.
It exists in the absence of the belief that a concept is real. The concept of Self, the concept of Future or Past, the concept of good or bad. Probably any concept.
Happiness just is,
when I don't chase it away.
Oh how wonder-full.